UK: RBS lending for solar projects tripled in 2015, bank says

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One of Britain’s largest banks lent more than £1 billion ($1.43 billion) to support U.K. customers’ renewable energy projects and investments in 2015 – a figure that was double that invested in 2014.

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) reported this week that its lending to clean energy in the U.K. has now increased for three consecutive years, with the bank’s involvement in solar particularly generous. In 2015, RBS steered £450 million ($644 million) in funds towards the solar PV sector – a figure that represented a trebling of investment on 2014.

The bank also confirmed that, since 2010, it has been at the forefront of direct solar lending, while over the same time period has also arranged an additional £550 million in financing for solar projects.

"Our record £1 billion of lending is a huge achievement, demonstrating our unwavering commitment to the low carbon economy and the jobs, businesses and communities that rely on it," said Alison Rose, the CEO of commercial and private banking at RBS. "It also highlights British businesses’ appetite for investing in renewable energy projects."

The figure of £1 billion invested in 2015 places RBS at the forefront of the U.K. clean energy landscape when it comes to lending, according to InfraDeals. One such solar project that reaped the benefits of RBS financing was the 6.3 MW floating solar array installed on the Queen Elizabeth II reservoir in London by U.K. developer, Lightsource.

Other projects to benefit from RBS largesse include 38 MW worth of solar – across seven projects – being developed by China’s Canadian Solar, which secured £119 million ($29 million) in financing in December last year, and a £400 million acquisition deal alongside Investec Bank to secure a solar portfolio worth 522 MW.